Title: Remnant: From the Ashes
Developer: Gunfire Games
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Genre: Third-Person Souls-like Shooter
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: Remnant: From the Ashes
Release Date: August 16th, 2019
Those who’ve gotten to know me are aware that I’m not a fan of incredibly challenging games. I don’t mind games that challenge me, but Dark Souls is the type of game that’s a no go for me. That level of challenge, despite its gratifying finish, never overtook that frustration I had trying 86 times to get there. I’m not saying incredibly challenging games are bad of course, but they’re far from my type. Seeing Remnant: From the Ashes, I was concerned that it would be that same issue but optimistic.
Remnant: From the Ashes mirrors Dark Souls in a lot of ways too. Many people jokingly say that it’s Dark Souls but with guns, but I genuinely think that is the case. You go from section to section, slaughtering enemies and using what they drop to either continue the fight or improve your equipment. As you progress, you run into increasingly challenging bosses that require an understanding of move sets to takedown. That combined with stat improvements, estus flasks (or in this case dragon hearts), and that sweet dodge roll, and you might think that joke is quite true. I wouldn’t blame you if you’d rather play Dark Souls after seeing how much it borrows.
Weapons And Choices
Seeing Remnant: From the Ashes and playing it are two entirely different things. While it does share many similarities (more than it should), there is a lot to make it stand out. For one there’s the elephant in the room that is guns over melee. Melee does exist in Remnant, but you’ll find yourself using guns much more. This does make the game a little less challenging, but this is remedied through difficulty setting and choice of gear. Rifles are there for those who want a simpler but still enjoyable experience, and shotguns are there for those wanting a Dark Souls level of challenge. You aren’t locked to the initial classes thankfully, so you can use whichever weapon feels best. The classes simply are there to have a starting foundation.
Weapon choice isn’t the only place you’re left up to decide though, with dialogue and combat decisions ahead of you. Remnant: From the Ashes is filled with many side bosses and areas to clear leaving the option for players to go explore expansive maps. I encourage you to do so over just doing the main bosses. Many of these side bosses are interesting, with cool move sets that you wouldn’t get to see otherwise. Not to mention you get a fresh trait and weapon/mod part when you kill them. As for dialogue options, you get some good choice in how you want your player to respond to the world around them. It could be better though, as most come down to being a good person or incredibly rude for no reason.
Story and World Design of Remnant: From The Ashes
I said before that Remnant: From the Ashes copies a lot from Dark Souls and while that’s true, it’s not always good. It seeks to copy the way the story is told, in that it’s incomprehensible. You don’t understand what’s going on outside of the basics, and it’s up to you to find lore in the world that tells you. Most players aren’t going to have the patience to do that, so don’t go into Remnant expecting a good story. Chances are if you do, you’re going to be disappointed.
Thankfully, the game does succeed in carrying itself with other aspects. The way the worlds are designed sets them apart from one other. Each planet feels like it tells its own story based on the enemies you encounter. While the story may not do these planets justice, you’re always asking questions. Why are these enemies here? What created them? What’s brought the world to its current form? These are questions you won’t answer without diving deep into the lore, but arising questions like these is a sign of good world design. I just wish different areas in each world could’ve been more fleshed out. Some sections are copy-pasted which feels bad for those looking to explore.
I need to make a special note for one of Remnant’s areas, that being Corsus. The swamp-like planet is one you encounter halfway through your playthrough and is arguably one of the best-designed worlds. The swamps tell a story of its inhabitants, and the enemies you face are crafted around it. I won’t go into the designs to not spoil anything, but you’ll get what I mean as you make your way through it. My only wish is that it was more fleshed out, though its recent DLC will hopefully fulfill that.
Polish And Options in Remnant: From The Ashes
Before we wrap this up, I’d like to touch on a few things that are worth mentioning. There’s a bunch of small issues with the game that when combined, do hinder the experience a bit. For one, a couple of the bosses and enemies are a bit poorly designed and needed a bit more fleshing out. The vast majority were fine though, so you may be willing to overlook this. There were also some QOL issues such as one sniper requiring a weird aim mechanic that could’ve been done better. This combined with a bunch of minor things may hurt the experience, but thankfully not too much.
There were also options and accessibility. The options themselves are varied and great. There’s a lot of room for optimization, to the point where I was hitting 60FPS while maintaining good visuals on my older hardware. There’s also of course the higher tier graphics changes, meaning newer machines will be able to make Remnant: From the Ashes look beautiful. Accessibility though could’ve been better. It mainly consists of language options and subtitles, but options like colorblind modes are missing. It would’ve been nice to see that and more with the game.
Verdict: Remnant: From the Ashes builds itself up to be a compelling souls-like shooter. There’s a lot of love in the gunplay, world design, and bosses that make it enjoyable to play. There are even some solid options, allowing people with all sorts of hardware to jump in. Unfortunately, the story and lack of originality in some areas leave a lot to be desired at times, which may deter fans of others in the souls-like genre. Despite these issues, Remnant still serves as a great entry to the genre that you’ll enjoy playing all the way through.
- Excellent gunplay
- Great world design
- Enemies and bosses are challenging
- Substantial player agency
- Thorough options menu
- Story is incomprehensible
- Lends too much from the genre's best
- Minor issues harm the game